On Tuesday (April 18), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) pushed back on demands by Democrats calling for judicial ethics legislation and an impeachment inquiry on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
McConnell made his statements to reporters at his first leadership press conference on the Capitol since experiencing a concussion in March.
McConnell defended the Supreme Court amid reports Clarence received extravagant gifts and hospitality from a billionaire, telling reporters that the “Supreme Court and the court system is a whole separate part of our Constitution,” noting that Democrats “spend a lot of time criticizing” individual court members and “going after the court as an institution.”
The Senate Minority Leader also accused Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) of intimidating conservative justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch in 2020 during an abortion rights rally held outside the Supreme Court, where the Democrat warned the justices wouldn’t “know what hit” them if they were to overturn Roe v. Wade.
McConnell explained Schumer was “in front of the Supreme Court” when he threatened the two Justices “by name,” threatening an apparent reprisal if they decide wrongly in a case the New York Democrat cared about.”
The Kentucky Republican also argued that Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared “largely unconcerned” about security issues justices were facing outside their homes” following the leak of the court’s draft opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, resulting in Roe being overturned.
McConnell also described having “Total confidence” in Chief Justice John Roberts’ handling of the ethics plaguing the court.
His remarks are a response to a recent letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats to Roberts that raised concerns about a ProPublica report that Thomas regularly took luxury trips from Texas billionaire Harlan Crow without disclosing the donations.